Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 4:3-6
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness’, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
We see what we want to see and we hear what we want to hear and after passing through our filters, the information strained becomes our truths. Part of this is human nature. Our life experiences do shape how we perceive our world that is why it is so vitally important that we build avenues of diversity into our lives. Paul discusses the diversity of gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:21 and says The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’, nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ I grew up on a farm and now live about as far from farm life as possible, but those agrarian ways remain etched in my soul. Such influences are neither good nor bad unless we allow them to blind us to new truths or other ways of understanding the same truth or learning new and better ways of being from our past.
I am the proud descendant of a pioneer homesteader who ran in the opening of the Sac and Fox land in 1891. I am sure my understanding of that history is markedly different from the understanding of the members of the tribe who each got a share of their reservation and sold the surplus to the government for distribution to homesteaders.
One facet of our call to do justice is to serve as the conscience of our government holding it to our lofty founding principles. We seem to lose those ideals from time to time. Walter Brueggemann addresses this issue well and broadly including paying taxes as a responsibility. I commend his work to readers and will make just a few points myself. Tthe Constitution based on the rule of law includes the Separation of Powers in Article 1 and the following provisions of the First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Of course, much dialogue is necessary for finding common ground on these basics. Our work toward finding common ground will complement our work in establishing the Common Good which is the purpose of government.
Prayer: God of all, prick our consciences to work for the Common Good by finding common ground. Amen.